We knew that Anthony Davis meant a lot to the Los Angeles Lakers, but did he really mean as much as Game 5 would suggest? The Phoenix Suns are one win away from sending the Lakers packing after a 115-85 dismantling of the reigning champs. Phoenix outscored Los Angeles 32-10 in the second quarter and the game was all but over by halftime.
Game 6 is at the Staples Center and we’ll see if the home crowd can rally LeBron and the Troops to send the series to Game 7 in the desert. The Lakers are favored by two points at Bookmaker Sportsbook with a total of 207 with their backs against the wall.
Blowouts are so big in the NBA. Devin Booker scored 30 points and only had to play 33 minutes in the Game 5 win. Both teams were able to empty the bench and give everybody some minutes, but it was especially important for the Suns to be able to rest their key guys. Chris Paul only played 23 minutes and looked like he was still dealing with the ill effects of his injury, but fortunately he was able to sit out more than half the game in hopes of being in a better spot for Game 6.
The Suns didn’t even really do anything that spectacularly on offense. They shot 46% from the floor and only 33.3% from three, but that was certainly good enough against the Lakers on Tuesday night. Phoenix only grabbed three offensive rebounds in the game, but also turned the ball over just four times. Even though there were no extra possessions, there were no wasted ones either.
The Lakers, on the other hand, turned the ball over 16 times. The Suns made them pay for it as well. It was a strong performance from Phoenix and also a good learning opportunity for the guys on the bench that got a chance to head into the game for some minutes when the outcome was decided.
The Suns are now shooting just 45% in the series and only 32.5% from three, yet are in a position to advance. It says a lot about how they’ve played defensively in this series and it was the defense that was the catalyst in Game 5.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are only shooting 41.3% from the floor in this series. Even when Anthony Davis was in there, he only shot 40.3%. LeBron is shooting 39.5% from three, but the Lakers are shooting just over 30% as a team. This bunch is offensively-challenged to say the least and it doesn’t help to have LeBron at less than 100%.
James has done as much as he seems to be physically able to do. He’s turned the ball over 22 times in this series while drawing a ton of attention. He’s also shooting below 60% from the free throw line. Honestly, he looks like a player that would rather be anywhere else. He secured the title last year with the Lakers to write that chapter of his historic autobiography as an NBA player.
Now, he just looks like an aging star playing through an injury that never fully healed. With AD out again for Game 6, you have to wonder if LeBron even wants to extend this series. You know changes are coming for the Lakers, as this supporting cast isn’t anywhere near good enough and LeBron will be 37 next year. Somebody needs to be able to give him time to chill on the bench without the game going to hell.
The Lakers don’t have enough playmakers. They don’t have enough shooters. Marc Gasol and Markieff Morris are the only guys shooting higher than LeBron’s mark from three. Gasol is 7-of-11 and Morris is 1-for-1. This looks and feels like a team ready to be done.
Suns vs. Lakers Free Pick
Maybe we get a vintage LeBron game here. The reality is that we probably don’t. You shouldn’t even need the points with the Suns. They know that blood is in the water and they will be playing the role of the shark in this game. LeBron seems like a guy ready to just be done for the summer, especially with the season likely to start around the normal time next year.
Pick: Phoenix Suns ML